Bukowski's thoughts on J.D Salinger

I was just wondering if anyone knew what bukowski thought about J.D Saliger. I only remember him mentioning him once, something about Salinger "deciding the world wasn't worth writing for". I have also heard some speculation about Buk naming "Ham on Rye" as some sort of homage to "Cather In the Rye", But i don't really buy into that . It just doesn't seem like his style. I always thought Bukowski would like "Cather..." despite the fact it is about a rich kid who complains a lot, because it is very honest writing. So does anyone know the official story (if there is any)?

Thanks
 
as far as I know, Buk liked Salinger in general and 'Catcher' in special.

To me, this is a miracle though. I wasn't able to read more than the first chapter of 'Catcher' and I tried it at least 3 times. I find it pubescent in the very worst sense of the word.
 
in the book "bukowski and the beats" there is an interview with buk by jean-francois duval which takes places in the late 1970's. here's an excerpt of interest...

jean-francois duval: who is the greatest living writer in the states, to you? if there is one...

buk: he doesn't write anymore. he just vanished off the face of the earth. his name is j.d salinger. he wrote two, three books. nobody has ever heard from him ever since. it's like he is gone. but he is not dead. the latest i heard, he said: "i just write for myself." now this is possible. that's a real saint. but if he says that, doesn't that destroy it? just saying that?...so i don't know. anyhow, this guy was so good in his early books, and he just stopped all of a sudden. he is a complete mystery. j.d. salinger. catcher in the rye is really great. you see, it's about young people going through their thing, but it's so well done...maybe when he got past the young people thing, that was all there was...it would be sad if it was so.

buk also says of salinger: now here is an amazing man. either he knows more than any of us, or he has just drifted off.
 
Buk on Salinger and "Catcher"

Interview with Wm Robson, 1970: "I've been glancing through the book here and saw the name Salinger. One I forgot--he's pretty damned good.
What happened to him?
Buk: I haven't heard anything about him--just stopped, I guess. He's very good. Sometimes they do stop. The good ones stop--the bad ones just keep on writing.
Interview with Robert Wennersten, 1974:
Anymore, I don't like to read. It bores me. I read four or five pages, and I feel like closing my eyes and going to sleep. That's the way it is. There are exceptions: J.D. Salinger; early Hemingway; Sherwood Anderson, when he was good, like "Winesburg, Ohio"...
Ben Pleasants, 1975:
And I've had a hell of a lot of help, too---J.D. Salinger and these people sitting around the table tonight.
Marc Chenetier, 1975:
That's what I'd like to do. Just keep writing at a good pitch instead of giving way. So many give way. You know about J.D. Salinger? Short stories, Catcher in the Rye. He's practically vanished, this guy. He just disappeared.
Interviewer: No one has ever seen him as far as I know.
Buk: No. A friend of mine claims to have seen him in a skid row hotel, but I don't know. (Laughs)
From Sunlight Here I Am
 
Buks appreciation of Salinger makes sense considering how Catcher in the Rye has been compared in the past to Fante's, Ask the Dust.
 

LickTheStar

Sad Flower in the Sand
Especially since it seems that the prostitute scene in Catcher seems to be lifted almost directly from Ask the Dust... just add a pimp and its an original scene.

Something tells me its just a coincidence though.

Interesting though that Buk thought so highly of Salinger. Very interesting. I never knew.
 

Johannes

Founding member
I remember an interview-line which went about like this: "Outside of Salinger, I can't think of anyone doint it in American literature today."

It's no wonder, though. The unfitting of Holden Caulfield in a phony, cruel, stupid world is masterly written and this feeling is one of the main points in B.'s complete oeuvre also. They kind of share one view on the world.
 
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There's also a connection to William Saroyan whose early work Buk loved. In Saroyan's The Human Comedy, the main character is named Homer McCauley, which obviously influenced Salinger's choice of the hero of Catcher Holden Caulfield. Also, there are scenes in Saroyan's novel when Homer vomits at the horror of the world, as does Holden. Also scenes with prostitutes in both books. Saroyan thus influenced both Salinger and Bukowski. Saroyan's early stories have a hip, casual, direct style which would also later influence Jack Kerouac. Didn't know about the Fante connection--but there's also obviously a Saroyan/Fante/Buk relationship as well.
 

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
Another writer that Buk praised was Carson McCullers (or am I hallucinating?) I read some of her stuff recently and I can see how it might have influenced Hank. Good work. Talk about a dark view of humanity: Carson had a bad case of it.
 
No, you're absoultely correct. There's a poem about her in The Night Turned Mad...; check the titles, it'll be obvious. :D

She was sickly for most of her life (rheumatic fever in High School and several debilitating strokes and/or nervous sytem attacks while still under 30), so yeah; her outlook on life was pretty bleak. Great writer, though.
 
I found this site after reading Buk's poem a year or two ago:

http://www.carson-mccullers.com/

If you click on Life Chronology on the left, it takes you to a brief bio page. Not too much info, but enough to make it clear that she endured a great deal for most of her life. There are a couple of references at the bottom of the bio page that might be of help, if you can find them.

Also, the main link I posted has some good info on her writing.
 
thanks to David and James for typing out those interview excerpts. Really interesting stuff. i need to get a copy of "SUNLIGHT HERE I AM" one of these days.
 
Another writer that Buk praised was Carson McCullers (or am I hallucinating?) I read some of her stuff recently and I can see how it might have influenced Hank. Good work. Talk about a dark view of humanity: Carson had a bad case of it.

can you recomend anything by her? i'm bad at finding authors who interest me (i can't tell if its me or the authors who are at fault there...). and not just her, anything by anybody that anyone thinks is worth the time to read. i'm especially curious if there are any modern authors who other Hank fans find worthy.
 

chronic

old and in the way
anything by anybody that anyone thinks is worth the time to read. i'm especially curious if there are any modern authors who other Hank fans find worthy.

William T. Vollmann. Start with either Whores for Gloria or The Rainbow Stories. Check this thread for other recommendations,
 

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

Yes. If that's the book I'm thinking it is, it's set in a funky country bar run by an eccentric woman who's in love with a scheming dwarf and a mean excon -- the story has a mood that Bukowski would feel right at home in. I could see how it may have influenced his writing.
 

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
Right. I realized that later. Now I'm drawing a blank on what THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER was about. Anyway, try BALLAD and it may remind you of some of Bukowski's stories, although Carson was there first.
 

justine

stop the penistry
Right. I realized that later. Now I'm drawing a blank on what THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER was about. Anyway, try BALLAD and it may remind you of some of Bukowski's stories, although Carson was there first.

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter is the one about a deaf-mute, a wanderer, a young girl, a black doctor and a cafe owner, and how their lives all intersect.
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
I have'nt read, "The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter", but I've seen the film a couple of times and it was just great!
 
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